By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – The last time these two teams met, one team advanced to the World Series. Today the St. Louis Cardinals returned to AT&T Park for opening day and once again they left with a loss.
The Giants raised their championship banner and got the 1-0 victory over the Cardinals. A moving tribute retold the story of how this team triumphed last season. There was not one dry eye in the ball park, even manager Bruce Bochy stated how he expected many to be in awe during his pre-game press conference.
“This is what you play for, it’s a similar feeling (to the 2010 season),” he explained. “Even though we’ve been here before, the chills, goose bumps and fond memories still happen. This is a special day, especially for Barry [Zito], the role he played last year and to have him pitch today is very special.”
It’s hard to forget game 5 of the National League Championship Series when Zito shutout St. Louis for 7 2/3 innings for the 5-0 win. That game turned everything around for San Francisco. And today, he shut the Cardinals out in seven.
“The same guy we saw last year,” manager Mike Matheny said. He threw the ball well, didn’t give us a lot of opportunities.”
Barry allowed three hits, four walks and four strikeouts. He also added some spark to the offense when he led off the third frame with a single to left field. Angel Pagan followed with a Fielder’s Choice as Barry was out at second. With two outs, Jake Westbrook loaded the bases with two walks to Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. But Hunter Pence grounded out to first to end the inning.
Zito got another opportunity in the fourth when Yadier Molina made a fielding error on his bunt. Molina waved off Westbrook to make the play but bobbled the ball as two runners advanced to load the bases. Jake then walked in the next batter to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
“Pretty simple, I missed it,” said Yadier. “I took my eyes off the ball and missed it.”
St. Louis fell flat just like they did last October. Barry on the other hand did not disappoint. Allowing only one Cardinal to reach second base, he didn’t have to worry about the great defense his teammates provided for him. An outstanding job by Pablo Sandoval who showed his dominance at third base despite the concerns of his recent weight gain.
“Third base is the key position when I’m throwing, because I throw off-speed stuff to get guys out front,” Zito said. “Pablo’s always ready over there, he picked me up huge today.”
Barry’s efforts didn’t just please the fans but his teammates as well. The progress he’s shown over time has proved worthy of praise. But let him tell you and it’s all present preparation without looking back at past victories.
“It’s not conducive to being in the present with every pitch,” he said. “It’s hard to look at a game three or four months ago and have that same affect on the game today.”
“He has a great game plan going into every game,” Posey said. “He’s pitching with a lot of conviction and I think one of the reason he’s doing that is he’s so well prepared.”